Pseudonymous NFT investor Metakovan was the high bidder on Beeple's history-making , according to a statement from British auction house Christie's. He paid over $69 million for the piece.
Bloomberg had previously reported that crypto entrepreneur Justin Sun was the buyer, but Sun later said that he'd been outbid at the last minute.
The sale is a watershed moment for NFTs, or non-fungible tokens—blockchain-based collectibles that have become a popular medium for digital art; in recent weeks, big-name artists like Grimes and Kings of Leon have sold NFTs for millions of dollars.
Decrypt spoke to Metakovan last year after he dropped $100,000 on a race car add-on for a blockchain video game.
“I don’t believe there is really an upper limit to how much one would pay [for an NFT],” he said at the time. “But I believe there will be someone who creates a very unique NFT, something that captures imagination. I'll be there for that auction.”
Metakovan is based in Singapore, and has said he’s a Y Combinator alumnus. He also hinted that “it's not that hard to find out who I am IRL.” He’s also the driving force behind Metapurse, a dedicated NFT fund.
Beeple's Magnum Opus: It was us. https://t.co/fsz5L6Rokw
— Metapurse.eth (@metapurse) March 12, 2021
When Metakovan bought that virtual race car, NFTs were a niche market within the already-niche crypto ecosystem. Today, his $69 million Beeple purchase was on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.
Beeple, too, arrived out of the blue late last year, when he sold a collection of digital art through the Winklevoss twins’ NFT marketplace, Nifty Gateway, for around $3.5 million. The $69 million work, titled The First 5000 Days, is a collage of pieces made daily over the course of 5,000 days.
In the Christie’s press release, Metakovan said “it is worth $1 billion.”
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